By Steven R. Roach

DUI Charges in the Illinois Court System

In Illinois courts, the greatest fear for most people facing DUI charges is the question of whether they are going to jail or not. The question as to whether the Illinois Secretary of State revokes their driving privileges is a very close second. A license revocation has a devastating impact on people, often preventing them from working, getting to school, traveling, and fulfilling their responsibilities with their family. At the close of the initial court proceedings, the Judge may impose a sentence of “Court Supervision”, which is a deferred judgment, meaning that there is no conviction, as long as all of the terms are satisfied, and there are no new arrests. The Secretary of State will take no action to revoke a driver’s license when a sentence of Court Supervision is issued. The Judge may also impose a sentence of conviction, conditional discharge, probation, and/or jail. These types of convictions result in the Secretary of State issuing an order “revoking” the driving privileges of the motorist. Upon conviction, the revocations are as follows, 1st Conviction = a minimum 1-year revocation; 2nd Conviction = a minimum 5-year revocation; 3rd Conviction = a minimum 10-year revocation; and 4th Conviction = a lifetime revocation.

There is Hope to Get your Illinois License Back After Revocation

However, motorists should recognize that following a conviction and revocation, all hope is not lost. The Secretary of State has created a driver’s license reinstatement hearing program, which allows individuals seeking to reinstate their driving privileges the opportunity to prove to the Illinois Secretary of State that they were properly classified by their evaluators, received the appropriate treatment from their providers, determine if there is a problematic use of alcohol, have a working knowledge of the effects of alcohol on the mind and body, be aware of the alternatives available to avoid alcohol use,  accept lifestyle changes that can be made, and support programs that should be attended, if necessary. The “paperwork” required to proceed with such a hearing is prepared by a licensed Illinois DUI treatment provider. This documentation must be prepared by a provider well versed in the reinstatement hearing process, because if there are any omissions, contradictions, or inconsistencies in alcohol use histories, symptoms, blood alcohol content levels, or drinking use patterns, the Secretary of State can issue an Order of Denial, and send the person fighting for their driving privileges back to square one.

Preparing for the Illinois Drivers License Reinstatement Hearing

To properly prepare for a reinstatement hearing, one should also seek out a qualified attorney, with extensive knowledge, skill, and experience in reviewing the treatment documentation and preparing their clients for the rapid-fire line of questioning they will be subjected to in the hearing. Typically, I will require that my clients go through a minimum of three to four mock hearings in my office before I can be assured they are ready for the hearing. Considering all of the time, money, effort, and energy my clients put into the reinstatement process, it is my responsibility to ensure that they are properly prepared, with accurate and consistent responses. Just like any area of law, there are tricks to the trade, and knowing how to properly respond to the Secretary of State’s questions, and carefully avoiding their traps, places the client in the best position to achieve driver’s license reinstatement, and be back on the roads!

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